Erkki Ruoslahti of The Burnham Institute named recipient of 2005 Japan Prize

January 14, 2005

(La Jolla, California) Dr. Erkki Ruoslahti, Distinguished Professor at The Burnham Institute, has been named as recipient of the 2005 Japan Prize in the category of cell biology. Dr. Ruoslahti will share the prize, 50 million yen (approximately $487,000 U.S.), with Dr. Masatoshi Takeichi, Director of RIKEN Center for Developmental Biology in Kobe, Japan. The award will be presented to the scientists in ceremonies to take place in Tokyo on April 20, 2005 as part of a week-long celebration of "Japan Prize Week".

The Japan Prize is awarded annually to "people from all parts of the world whose original and outstanding achievements in science and technology are recognized as having advanced the frontiers of knowledge and served the cause of peace and prosperity for mankind".

In announcing the prize today, The Science and Technology Foundation of Japan (JSTF), cited Dr. Ruoslahti and Dr. Masatoshi Takeichi, for their

"Fundamental contributions in elucidating the molecular mechanisms of cell adhesion", which include key discoveries for "elucidating the etiology and developing therapy for serious diseases such as malignant tumors".

Dr. Ruoslahti is being recognized for his seminal contributions to the cell adhesion field, which includes the discovery and molecular definition of the site at which cells attach to one another, the peptide RGD. Dr. Ruoslahti's discoveries in cancer biology are also relevant to a broad range of cell behaviors, which are involved in managing heart attack, stroke, osteoporosis, and angiogenesis.

Dr. Ruoslahti earned his M.D. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Helsinki, Finland. He held various academic appointments at the University of Helsinki and the University of Turku in Finland and City of Hope National Medical Center in Duarte, California. Dr. Ruoslahti was recruited to The Burnham Institute in 1979 and served as its President from 1989 - 2002. He was appointed Distinguished Professor in 2002. Dr. Ruoslahti is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Medicine of the Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, European Molecular Biology Organization, and the Finnish Academy of Sciences. He has been honored with the Gairdner Foundation International Award, the G.H.A. Clowes Award of the American Association for Cancer Research, the Robert J. and Claire Pasarow Foundation Award, The Jacoaeus International Prize, and The Jubilee Award given the by British Biochemical Society. Dr. Ruoslahti is an Honorary Doctor of Medicine from University of Lund, Sweden, and he is a Knight of the Order of the White Rose of Finland.
The Burnham Institute is an independent, nonprofit, public benefit organization dedicated to basic biomedical research in the areas of cancer, neurosciences and aging, and infectious and inflammatory diseases. The Institute ranks consistently among the world's most influential research organizations for the impact of its research in analyses conducted annually by the Institute for Scientific Information. To learn more about The Burnham Institute visit our website at

Sanford-Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute

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